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Old 04-05-2009, 02:31 PM   #41
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Oh, heck. I think everybody go that. We all know you just take the 320 bus to Secaucus. Leaves from the Port Authority terminal, and stops right at the WalMart. Runs every 15 minutes or so.
I thought it would take a couple of transfers but Iím sure you are right as NYC has everything. I live in a smaller city and find the closest Wal-Mart in a relatively safe area is in the Tech land to the south! Letís see, take the express train to the second stop, then Iím in trouble, Iíll check the transit website: I forgot, before the train, itís walk one block to bus stop, ride bus directly! to train station (Trip planner was wrong!, they would have me walk two blocks to bus and then transfer to another bus, hey). Get off at Palo Alto instead of Mt. View, catch lite rail and then walk four minutes to Wal-Mart. Itís a cinch at only four and a third hours of ride time; I would pad it up to six hours to include all those wait times. Fare totals $15.50 and being out so long, I would need to buy lunch, maybe at one of the transfer points instead of Wal-Mart cafe.
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Old 04-05-2009, 02:33 PM   #42
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rkser, such a nice tribute to NYC. I feel you on the vibe of the place, not my cup of tea but I get what your saying. I am a confirmed city person and would never consider the burbs. Like you said to each his own. However the choice is not just city/burb. There are less expensive neighborhoods and addresses in NYC.

When you get down to it QOL trumps everything IMO. I'll be dammed if I would live the way that family is living on that kind of pay. I have been in ghetto apartment that looked better than that one.
I cracked up when he spoke of a cleaning lady. Where? When? What could she possible clean? The place is a mess. This must be some sort of April Fools prank.
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Old 04-05-2009, 02:46 PM   #43
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DC is often overlooked when people think of really expensive places, but man the whole area from Georgetown to Dupont Circle to Eastern Market can be insanely expensive. It's hard to find middle ground in DC you're either paying a fortune or living in an area fearing for your life.
I'm a block from Eastern Market and it is pricey. I love living in the city but this isn't even in the ball park of Manhattan. I remember when my nephew came to visit us from NY on a nice spring weekend. He walked around here and was amazed at all the trees and greenery -- thought he was in a garden Interestingly, a lot of DC areas I would never have dreamed of living in 10 years ago have become pretty safe now. Not quite full-on gentrification but fairly diverse and comfortable to walk around in.
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Old 04-05-2009, 02:49 PM   #44
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I think they are loonie-toons - - what a miserable life they have, despite their education and qualifications. But perhaps there is something else that they like about living there.
It's the H&H bagels and Original Ray's pizza.
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Old 04-05-2009, 02:50 PM   #45
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I'm a block from Eastern Market and it is pricey. I love living in the city but this isn't even in the ball park of Manhattan. I remember when my nephew came to visit us from NY on a nice spring weekend. He walked around here and was amazed at all the trees and greenery -- thought he was in a garden Interestingly, a lot of DC areas I would never have dreamed of living in 10 years ago have become pretty safe now. Not quite full-on gentrification but fairly diverse and comfortable to walk around in.
To me the wonderful aspect of DC is all the high quality free museums. My ex's parents live in Maryland suburbs, and whenever she goes there she gluts on museums. It's all I ever did there too.

Even the New York museums, while not free are relatively cheap.

Ha
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:11 PM   #46
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I'm a block from Eastern Market and it is pricey. I love living in the city but this isn't even in the ball park of Manhattan. I remember when my nephew came to visit us from NY on a nice spring weekend. He walked around here and was amazed at all the trees and greenery -- thought he was in a garden Interestingly, a lot of DC areas I would never have dreamed of living in 10 years ago have become pretty safe now. Not quite full-on gentrification but fairly diverse and comfortable to walk around in.
That's really nice to hear, I was there (10th and C) almost 20 years ago and sure wasn't the case with safety. DC is a great city and I'd love to move back someday, truly an often overlooked cosmopolitan town.
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:10 PM   #47
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So, how do they spend their $400K yearly income? Here's what I got from the article

Gross = $400K
Taxes = $200K
Housing = $100K+
Child care = $40K+
Preschool = $15k

This leaves them with $45K for all other expenses -- medical, food, transportation, etc... -- which, even an ignoramus like myself knows, does not get them far in NYC.

Interesting article, thanks for posting that. I live in NYC, and while I make more than they do I live on quite a bit less. I bought a similarly-priced apartment (~1M) but the monthly cost for me was <$5k (I've since paid it off).

I think their big problem is housing. They are probably in a building with a huge common charge - so its like paying rent on top of your mortgage. There are plenty of nice areas in Manhattan and the gentrified parts of Brooklyn where they could get a nice 2 bedroom place at a much lower carrying cost.

Of course the preschool expense can be avoided, there are some well regarded public schools if you live in the right place. But some people in the city have a real aversion to the idea of public schools - really its more about status than education. Even so, they could probably absorb that if they were a bit smarter about their housing choice.
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Old 04-05-2009, 04:53 PM   #48
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I would not be surprised to find out the reporter lived in NYC and this article was written to make all other New York City dwellers feel smarter about their financial decisions. No one wants to be on the bottom of the totem pole and articles like this help appease the low income masses and show that at least on one sort of totem pole, they are not at the bottom. "At least we are 'a bit smarter about' our money than these chumps!"

-- written tongue-in-cheek with apologies to Maurice and the other New Yorkers reading this.
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:36 PM   #49
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Life is full of choices.

They chose to live in a state with high taxes...
They chose to live on one of the most exclusive avenues in one of the expensive cities in the world...
They chose to have kids and send them to private schools...

Personally I think this is way beyond their pay grade.

But what can I say? We all have to live with our choices.
This pretty well sums it up. Mr. Fou said "we couldn't see ourselves living in the suburbs". Apparantly, he can't accept living anywhere off Fifth Avenue, either.

I guess that this story is a nice illustration of the fact that it takes a lot more than $400k to buy "everything you want".
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:48 PM   #50
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I don't live in NYC, but had to wonder about $200k taxes on $400k of income. I'd estimate these numbers:
$80k - FIT
$16k - FICA (assuming the $400k is wages)
$28k - State Income tax
$14k - NY City Income tax
-----
$138k Total
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:57 PM   #51
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Federal income tax would be well north of 20%, don't you think?

The dentist probably pays both halves of FICA.

But still the 200k is probably rounding up.
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:05 PM   #52
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If the dentist is smart (there's that word again), she would be sheltering lots of money in tax-advantaged retirement accounts. So would Mr Dentist. Such accounts would certainly reduce taxable income, but $400K was reported as "gross", so maybe they are really putting $200K a year into retirement vehicles and secretly laughing at the fast one they put over on the the reporter.

Federal income tax might not be well north of 20% given the tax shelters that are available for self-employed folks. We've certainly never paid more than about 17% at the most ever even while being in the 33% marginal income tax bracket. I know they state a higher gross than we've ever had.

And you forgot to add in their property taxes.
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:50 PM   #53
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It was a joke. AS far as I know, there is no O-line.
Wow, there really is an O-line and it goes exactly where you said it does...
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..... Is this still April 1st?
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:26 PM   #54
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Federal income tax would be well north of 20%, don't you think?

The dentist probably pays both halves of FICA.

But still the 200k is probably rounding up.
I would agree. I estimate that their Federal income taxes would be about 107K if they took the standard deduction, but I would think that their sched A deductions would probably exceed the standard deduction.

Plus, there's property taxes on their condo. And the 8.5% city sales tax.

Also, I estimate the FICA tax to be:

0.062 x 102,00 x 2 = 12,648

plus the Medicare tax which applies to all income

0.0145 x 400,000 = 5,800

so the FICA tax would be 18,448 (higher than Independent's number) + any self-employment tax the dentist wife has to pay (another 9,224)

It seems to me it would make sense for these folks to move to a suburb with good schools. That way, at least the property taxes would be deductible, whereas their private school tuition is not.
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Old 04-06-2009, 09:31 AM   #55
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I was guessing $300k of taxable income. I got that by estimating:

$400k Gross
-$14k Personal exemptions ($3,500 x 4)
-$42k State and City income tax
-$44k Interest and property tax on condo (out of $100k of condo expense)
------
$300k Taxable income

The FIT calc is $45k + .33 x ($300k - $200k) = $45k + $33k = $78k
I'm guessing that I'm pretty conservative on the itemized deductions. I checked the "limits on itemized deductions" worksheet, it doesn't seem to have much impact.

You are correct about Medicare - I forgot it was payable on total earned income.

I was assuming that his estimate of "taxes" was "off-the-top", and real estate taxes would be in the condo expenses, and sales tax is just part of spending. I know that some people categorize differently, he could be one of them (no telling how precise an MIT grad could be).

I also assumed that they weren't contributing any large percent of income to tax-favored retirement plans - since they seem to be "just getting by".
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Old 04-06-2009, 12:03 PM   #56
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I ran the numbers through paycheckcity and with a mortage deduction (on a percentage of the coop) I would put their take-home at closer to $240k. Their housing expenses are $100k, which is not out of line at 25% of gross.

The most glaring point is that they don't want to live like New Yorkers - they want to live like rich New Yorkers. NYC is an expensive place to live, but almost exclusively because of housing. If we exclude the $100k for housing, their take home is still $100-14k - plenty for a family of four who are not trying to lead a pretentious life.

While NYC can indeed be expensive, I can also find things cheaper here than other areas of the country, but I can't do it on the UES and I can't do it without some legwork.

People live in NYC on less than $30k/year. But they don't live on fifth avenue, they don't send their children to private school, and they don't eat at expensive restaurants when they go out. The sheer number of restaurants in NYC almolst guarantees choices at every price point, and price is not always an indicator or quality in this city.

Those who wish to live in NYC do so because it offers what few other American cities do - a vibrant culture, a walkable city, and the choice of many different environments. Those who talked about staying in Times Square to "really be in the middle of things" are kidding yourselves. Times Square is closer to Orlando than NYC.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:53 PM   #57
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Makes $400k and pays $200k taxes? Somethings wrong with that picture..
but just watch the Cable Show> Housewives of New York to get some ideas of Living the Higher Life in NYC..
Living in London is alot more Expensive I think..
and their, you pay 50%+ in taxes...!
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:17 PM   #58
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I lived in a $1 mill apartment on the upper west side... but my company paid for it... but IIRC, there are not that many people who actually LIVE in Manhattan...

My commute was in the 35 to 45 minute range as I had to take two subway trains and the PATH to NJ... or walk a long block and a half after one subway to the PATH... you could get a nice place in NJ for a LOT less than what they were paying..

Also, there was a Costco and a nice mall located on the Jersey side near the PATH...

I would never try and stay in the city if I had kids... just to much trouble..
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:37 PM   #59
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but IIRC, there are not that many people who actually LIVE in Manhattan...
Apparently 1,620,867 is the population of Manhattan.
Manhattan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In spite of so many people feeling that it is just beyond comprehension that one would actually live there, it seems that quite a number do.

In my life I spent one short summer there, in the Village, and I think it is like many things. Sure you can go there from somewhere else whether Brooklyn or Queens or Yonkers or New Jersey or wherever one might feel that it is reasonable to live(or where other people may feel that it is reasonable for humans to live). But it is not nor ever will be the same.

If you like beaches best, live at the beach. I can attest that beachwise it is a totally more satisfying experience than living in Pasadena and struggling down to the beach on occasion.

If you like hip parts of big cities, live there. If you like utter posh live on Fifth Avenue. If you like Brooklyn, live there. If you like a quiet small town find one.

Ha
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Old 04-06-2009, 04:42 PM   #60
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Not much to add. Still it definitely remains of the book Bonfire of the Vanities. At some level I think they would step back and say we make 400K and we life in a very cramped 800' apartment with the 2 kids. You don't have to have the highest status/best in every aspect of your life, your address, your food, nanny, Pre School etc.

If they aren't saving money at a decent rate (at least 20K/year) they are fools.
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